There has been much consternation in Maine this past week over Paul LePage’s garbage.
LePage, the Republican candidate for governor and general manager of Marden’s Surplus & Salvage, told his Facebook friends that somebody had been prowling around in his trash, apparently in search of incriminating evidence that the GOP nominee secretly ate Idaho potatoes, filled his liquor cabinet at a New Hampshire state store (hey, he’s a fiscal conservative) or bought his neckties at Reny’s.
Suspicion immediately fell on operatives connected to independent gubernatorial candidate Eliot Cutler, but Cutler, picking a potato peel off his sleeve, issued a stern denial that somehow had something to do with Watergate.
As someone who has occasionally found his trash can toppled and his yard strewn with out-of-state spuds, out-of-state liquor bottles (hey, I’m a fiscal conservative) and copies of Maine. The Magazine, I can understand the rage and embarrassment LePage is feeling. You want the entity responsible for the mess to clean it up, and you don’t want any impertinent questions about why there are 2,000 “Otten for Governor” signs in your recycling bin.
I never get that satisfaction, however, mostly because the aforementioned entity isn’t a private investigator hired by some rival blogger intent on forcing me to resign in disgrace from my lucrative posting position.
Usually, it’s a raccoon.
The answer to that problem isn’t Facebook postings or press releases. It’s a Havahart trap.
I think you can get them at Marden’s. If not, I’m sure they have them in stock at Reny’s.
By the way, I would be remiss in my duty to include in this feature at least one unseemly reference each week that’s designed to upset the more sensitive readers of this site if I did not mention that raccoons are among the mammals that never need Viagra. This is because they possess a baculum, which is … er … there’s really no genteel way of explaining this … a bone in the penis.
No, really, it’s very common. Lots of primates have them, although not humans. Except Ben Roethlisberger.
The raccoon baculum is actually kind of elegant looking. A friend once gave my wife a pair of earrings made from them. She gets some funny looks when she wears the things. Makes me wonder about people who recognize stuff like that.
But back to the topic of the week, which is Dumpster diving – in the literal sense, rather than the virtual sort that’s been going on in the last few paragraphs.
Before I put the lid back on the LePage garbage pail, let’s take one last look at those potato peels, because they, too, were a symbol of considerable consternation this past week. According to the Bangor Daily News, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has refused to include potatoes among the foods offered by its Women, Infants and Children program for low-income families. Instead of a good Maine spud with dinner, the feds recommend a serving of mashed cauliflower.
I have no objection to mashing cauliflower. Preferably, on the office chair of the bureaucrat who came up with that idea. But let’s be reasonable here. Potatoes, in all their many possible preparations, taste great. Cauliflower tastes like old sneakers. People who eat them have old-sneaker breath. Feeding cauliflower to low-income people is the moral equivalent of condemning them to lives of poverty and deprivation (“I would have hired that woman for the job casing the LePage garbage can, but her breath would shrivel a Brussels sprout”).
Anyway, the reason the agriculture department won’t pass out potatoes to the poor is because they’re too high in carbohydrates. The potatoes, I mean, not the agriculture department. What they don’t tell their clients is that carbohydrates is a fancy word for complex B vitamins, which scientific tests have shown are essential to a healthy income. Potatoes also have potassium, which is an element or something. In high school chemistry class, we combined it with water to cause things to blow up.
Best to forget I mentioned that. The South Portland School Department is still seeking reimbursement for those ceiling panels.
In spite of the explosive threat posed by potatoes (not to mention their potential as ammunition in potato guns), Maine’s congressional delegation is trying to convince the agriculture department to lift its ban, and make the tubers a part of its food distribution program. Our senators and representatives face tremendous opposition from the powerful cauliflower lobby, as well as harassment by operatives going through their garbage.
Our elected leaders will have to be strong, but, fortunately, potatoes are good for building strength. And for making vodka.
You can’t say that about cauliflower. If you could, the vodka would taste like old sneakers.
Speaking of things that leave a bad taste in your mouth, let’s turn our attention to the recent election of a new road commissioner in the town of Waterboro (motto: Lousy Arithmetic Skills Since 1796). In the June balloting, Scott Ohman beat Douglas Foglio for the post. There was only one problem. The road commissioner serves a three-year term, and it had only been two years since Fred Fay had been re-elected to the post.
Somehow, the town officials didn’t notice.
Somehow, the candidates didn’t notice.
And somehow – I mean somehow!!! – even Fay didn’t notice.
As a result, the election is null and void, Fay will stay on the job another year, and selectmen are talking about reimbursing the two candidates for their campaign expenses, which is just what the taxpayers probably wanted to do with their money.
“This is a huge black eye for the town of Waterboro,” Ohman told the Journal Tribune.
I’d go further than that. I’d say it’s garbage.
Al Diamon has to go now, because he just caught some sort of stupid critter in his Havahart trap (“Let me out – I’m in charge of elections in Waterboro”). When he gets done disposing of it (“Save the baculum, we can make a necklace out of it”), he’ll answer e-mails sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.